Lotus Engineering, the automotive consultancy division of Lotus has won two British government green contracts; it will assist in the development of a zero emission London taxi programme and a large luxury hybrid sedan.
A total of £23 million has been set aside for 16 innovative low carbon vehicle development programmes. Including investment from partner companies, the projects collectively represent a total value of £52 million.
Fuel cell taxis
Building on Lotus' experience of developing high technology hybrid demo vehicles, it is hoped the project will lead to the introduction of a commercial fleet of zero-emission fuel cell taxis.
Lotus Engineering will integrate the fuel cell engine with the electric drive train and hydrogen storage system and subject this to bench testing. This will then be integrated into a "buck" vehicle for use in full vehicle testing.
This fleet should be available for London by 2012 and other cities by 2014.
The second project, Limo-Green, takes a Jaguar as a basis for the development of a large luxury hybrid sedan concept that uses an advanced drive motor, small battery pack and a small auxiliary power unit (APU) for cruising.
This project aims to demonstrate a large executive sedan capable of producing less than 120 g/km emissions.
In a collaboration between Lotus Engineering, Jaguar Cars, MIRA and Caparo Vehicle Technologies, Lotus will design and build a number of prototype APUs and provide technical support once the device is installed in the vehicle.
According to Lotus, this APU is an extremely efficient system with "ultrahigh thermal efficiency and high power output".